The Week Off.
The title of today’s blog doesn’t refer to an upcoming break for Garth or myself, nor does it mean there’s going to be a week-long delay in comic page updates. “The Week Off” refers to this week, where my four-year-old son is off from preschool. It’s a scheduled vacation, and it’s one I dread every year.
I love spending time with my son. I truly do. But as he’s getting older he’s acquiring things like impatience and a vocabulary that lets him be demanding. And as he gets older we begin to need things like a break from each other, because as a work-from-home dad it’s just me and him during the day when he’s not at preschool. So five straight weekdays of me and him with no breaks from each other is going to be a strain on my patience, and his.
Thankfully, I have help. His grandmothers have been gracious enough to offer babysitting support this week, with my mother taking the first half of the week and my mother-in-law covering the latter half. This allows me time to get work done, and gives me some much-needed time to myself that his normal preschool schedule permits. This isn’t the first time family has come to watch him during the week so I can work, and I’m always grateful for the help, but there’s always a part of me that feels guilty when family babysits him during a day when I’m around.
When I go upstairs to work there’s a part of me that (ridiculously) feels like I’m shirking my parenting responsibilities. Even though I’m doing the work I would normally be doing while he’s at preschool, a guilty part of me feels like I’m unfairly “taking some time off” by not watching my son during the day. There’s a section of my brain that absurdly thinks I’m only allowed to take time to myself when he’s at preschool and no other time than that. I have no idea where this came from. Nobody gave me a stern talk or a guilt trip. I think it’s just a side-effect of being a work-from-home dad and spending so much time with him over these four years.
Parenthood has done weird things to me. Mostly good. Some absurd. With a dash of inexplicable guilt.